Slip and fall accident in Garland, TX at major retail store, resulting in knee and low back injuries, settled by attorney for $52,500. Outstanding gross recovery after claim was initially denied.
Our client was shopping at a major retail store in Garland, TX. Her right foot stepped into a puddle of water she didn’t notice, and as a result she slipped and fell backwards onto her back. The puddle of water apparently resulted from a leak in the store’s roof. The client retained our personal injury law firm and we quickly sent a notice of representation and demand to preserve evidence.
Comment from Attorney Shane Mullen: Premises liability claims can be very challenging, but that has never stopped us from representing injured victims when we believe we can establish the store knew of the dangerous condition or should have discovered it. In this particular claim, we believed the size of the puddle and slow nature of the leak in the roof meant it was more likely than not that the store in question could have discovered the dangerous condition before our client was forced to encounter it.
The store denied liability shortly after receiving notice of our involvement. Nonetheless, we were able to help our client – who did not have health insurance – to obtain the medical treatment she needed. An MRI of her lumbar spine revealed a herniated disc. An MRI of her left knee was concerning for possible partial tear of the patellar tendon, although it was not conclusive, and the differential diagnosis was inflammation. The hospital she went to immediately following the fall had only diagnosed a knee sprain. Our client eventually underwent multiple injections into her knee and was able to obtain some pain relief.
More from Shane: Many times injury firms will immediately put a case into litigation when a claim is denied. We never hesitate to litigate if necessary, but often times we’ll make a second pass at settlement if we believe it’s in the best interests of the client. In this case the client had a 28% contingent fee if her case resolved pre-suit. I knew litigation would result in her contingent fee increasing to at least 40% – in addition to her case expenses dramatically rising – and thought we could further develop the case and get the liability determination reversed. Our law firm doesn’t run some sort of assembly line. We have a unique model where attorneys directly oversee and develop cases. This approach helps us to make the best decision possible for each individual case.
Despite the prior liability denial, we submitted a settlement proposal. In the settlement proposal we cited Texas case law involving a leaky roof in a retail store that mirrored the facts of the claim at issue. Case law indicated the size of the puddle, coupled with the slow nature of the leak and location of store employee(s) could likely satisfy constructive notice requirements. When the adjuster continued to deny liability, we involved the claims supervisor and were eventually able to get the liability decision overturned and the case settled.
Comment from Attorney Joseph Morrison: We are a small and agile firm. The personal injury attorneys eat lunch together almost everyday and routinely share the experiences we’re having with different insurance carriers and adjusters. We alert each other to different trends we’re noticing. If we think another attorney at the firm can help get the ball over the goal line, we don’t hesitate to involve each other. In this particular case Shane asked me to help try and get the liability decision overturned because it involved a party I had filed numerous lawsuits against in the past – one of which involved a leaky roof like this particular case. We truly are a team, and that gives us a distinct advantage over volume practices.
The settlement for this slip and fall claim at a retail store in Garland, TX involving injuries to the client’s lower back and knee was $52,500.00. Attorney fees were $14,700.00. Case expenses were $383.11. After paying medical providers, the client’s net recovery was $14,813.89. This is an outstanding result for a heavily disputed premises liability claim.